Why Was Hailie Deegan Disrespected and Omitted From List of Most Influential Female Drivers?
Hailie Deegan has won the NASCAR Truck Series Most Popular Driver award in her first two full-time seasons. That popularity unsurprisingly translates into a large social media following, totaling an eye-popping 6.23 million followers across five different platforms, including TikTok, X, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
Despite those impressive numbers, the 22-year-old, who recently announced she’ll compete with AM Racing in the Xfinity Series in 2024, surprisingly wasn’t included in a recently released list of the world’s most influential female drivers. What makes that even more surprising involves the ones who are included.
List of the “Most Influential Female Race Car Drivers”
Avis, the rental car company, recently analyzed the online presence and search demand data for 400 professional female racing drivers worldwide from various motorsport disciplines to uncover the most influential ones by creating the indexed influence score, taking into account search demand for each driver and their social media following on Instagram, TikTok and X (formerly known as Twitter).
The list identified the top 5 European drivers and the top 5 worldwide. Making the list for Europe were Sophia Floersch of Germany, Jamie Chadwick and Jessica Hawkins of Britain, Marta Garcia of Spain, and Margot Laffite of France.
The list of the top 5 drivers from the rest of the world was noticeably American-heavy, including Lindsay Brewer, Toni Breidinger, and Natalie Decker. The two non-Americans included were Tatiana Calderon of Colombia and Bianca Bustamante of the Phillippines.
Hailie Deegan missing from list
Notably absent from the worldwide list was Hailie Deegan. Why that happened isn’t clear because solely based on the metrics used to identify the most influential, the ThorSport Racing driver would be at the top. The numbers don’t lie.
Based on the current numbers on the platforms (TikTok, X, and Instagram), Deegan has a total of 4.74 million followers, broken down into 3.2 million on TikTok, 140.4K on X, and 1.4 million on Instagram.
Toni Breidinger, who just completed a solid ARCA Menards season with four top-5 finishes, has a total of 3.83 million followers, which is 2.3 million on TikTok, 33.8K on X, and 1.5 million on Instagram.
|Hailie Deegan||3.2 million||140,400||1.4 million||4.74 million|
|Toni Breidinger||2.3 million||33,800||1.5 million||3.83 million|
|Lindsay Brewer||669,500||78,000||2.6 million||3.34 million|
Natalie Decker, who ran two Xfinity Series races at Charlotte and Daytona in 2023, where she finished 34th and 35th, respectively, would be third on the list of NASCAR-affiliated drivers, with a total of 429,000 followers, which breaks down into 167.4K on TikTok, 69.8K on X, and 192K on Instagram.
The third American on the list who is not involved in NASCAR is Lindsay Brewer. The 26-year-old competes in the USF Pro 2000 Championship, which is the open-wheel racing series serving as the third step on the Road to Indy ladder system. She has a total of 3.34 million followers, including 669.5K on TikTok, 78K on X, and 2.6 million on Instagram.
Overall, this list is a positive for racing because it shows there are many women in motorsports developing large followings. The hope is that those followers convert into ticket purchases. However, when the list fails to include the driver who is the most influential by the numbers and whose numbers are higher than everyone on both lists (Europe and Worldwide), its accuracy must be questioned.